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At the Hopkins Center for the Arts Garage this past Saturday, digital musics graduate student Andrew Maillet and filmmaker Zbigniew Bzymek gave two work-in-progress performances of their multimedia adaptation of Polish artist and philosopher Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s play “Pragmatists.”
There is an old truism that posits that the best superhero films are those that first and foremost aim to be different. For instance, it is often argued that a film like “The Dark Knight” is a cut above other Batman movies because it is constructed as a gritty crime drama, not a superhero adventure flick. While statements like this occasionally rankle die-hard comic book fans, I think it really just speaks to the utterly arbitrary nature of the superhero genre label. Consider that both “The Punisher” and “The Incredibles” are both typically classified as superhero films even though they have next to nothing in common.
“1984,” Dartmouth’s stage adaptation of Milton Wayne’s radio adaptation of George Orwell’s synonomously-named classic, gives a twist to the original setup of the novel to make it more relevant to the world today. Director and theater professor Peter Hackett adapted the script himself, incorporating multimedia components and excerpts from Timothy Snyder’s “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” that add a contemporary aspect to the production. “1984” opens tonight at Moore Theater in the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Wander into the high-ceilinged quiet of Black Family Visual Arts Center this month and one will encounter SELF/PORTRAIT, an exhibition of photographs by students of Studio Art 29, “Photography I,” and other photography classes over the span of the past two years. Student Gallery Room 102 is washed grayscale, each of its walls displaying groups of three or four black and white film photographs. The common thread between the photos is portraiture — not every work has its artist as subject, but all concern a meditation on self. Curated by studio art professor Virginia Beahan and teaching assistant Josh Renaud ’17, the photographs come together as a cohesive response to the documentary “Faces Places,” a film screened at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on Jan. 12 and Jan. 19. “Faces Places” follows 89-year-old Agnès Varda, a creative force who spearheaded the French New Wave, and 33-year-old French photographer and muralist JR on their journey through the villages of France. JR and Varda interviewed and created portraits of locals; their resulting documentary is built on the humanity of these encounters and the friendship they build in their time with each other.
After performing German composer Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” at its fall concert, the Dartmouth College Glee Club will continue the biblical hero theme in its winter concert Friday with Giacomo Carissimi’s oratorio “Jephte.” “Jephte” tells the story of Jephthah, an Old Testament judge who promises God that he will sacrifice the first person who comes out to greet him after battle in exchange for victory over a rival tribe. When that person turns out to be his only daughter, Jephthah has to suffer the consequences. While “Jephte” is traditionally presented with limited staging and visual elements, director Louis Burkot decided to incorporate mixed media into the concert by adding projections designed by graduate student Camilla Tassi.
This evening, contemporary jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will bring his soulful, melodic style to audiences at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Porter, who has won two Grammy Awards, most recently in 2017 for his album “Take Me to the Alley,” had an unorthodox rise to fame. He initially worked as a chef in New York and sang in various bars and restaurants in his spare time. Heavily influenced by Nat King Cole through his mother, Porter became a recording artist at the age of 40 when his independently-released debut album “Water” gained attention from studios.
Last Friday, alternative rock band MGMT released “Little Dark Age,” its first album since 2013. With refreshingly catchy psychedelic-pop tracks reminiscent of the group’s first album, “Oracular Spectacular,” “Little Dark Age” also thematically reveals the band’s development. However, the presence of a few severely convoluted and borderline unpleasant tracks prevent the album from truly demonstrating the band’s potential.
As the 90th Academy Awards ceremony draws closer, it’s hard not to compare the various nominees, particularly those in the Best Picture category. After all, cinema does not exist in a vacuum. When one considers “Call Me By Your Name” from that perspective, it does have at least one noteworthy quality that, for better or for worse, distinguishes it from the pack: The film has the ability to haunt the viewer. One leaves the theater enveloped by the film’s narrative and everything it entails, both the good and the bad. “Call Me By Your Name” didn’t move me as much as “Lady Bird”did, nor did it elicit the same visceral bodily reactions as “Dunkirk.” It didn’t make me think as much as “Get Out,” and it wasn’t as beautiful or profoundly simple in its execution compared to Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water.” But “Call Me By Your Name” stayed with me. In fact, it is still with me — even as I try to write this review, I occasionally find myself not being able to decide how to address my overall experience. For a film that tries so hard to be like a window into reality, it has a surprisingly hallucinatory power.
This article was featured in the 2018 Winter Carnival Issue.
Winter WhingDing is an annual a cappella show offered through the Hopkins Center of the Arts as a part of Winter Carnival programming. Each year, the concert is headlined by one of the various a cappella groups on campus. This year the Dartmouth Aires, Dartmouth’s oldest all male a cappella group, will be hosting the program.
To kick off Winter Carnival weekend, the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra will perform a new interpretation of one of the most popular pieces of baroque music, Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” This Friday, guest artist Carlos Aonzo will play the traditional violin solo on the mandolin, giving “The Four Seasons” a new and exciting sound. The DSO will also play Tchaikovsky’s first symphony. This lesser-known piece also explores the theme of the seasons and is titled “Winter Daydreams.”
Northern Stage celebrated the fifth year of its New Works Now play festival in January. This year, the premiere of a piece by a current Dartmouth student opened the festival.
Last year, Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” premiered, but does anyone even remember the film? Neither do I, which is kind of astonishing given its recent release date. I mention this, not because this is a review of “Alien: Covenant,” but because the release of both “Alien: Covenant” and “All the Money in the World” in the same year illustrates the most fascinating and contradictory qualities associated with Scott’s skills and limitations as a filmmaker. “Alien: Covenant” was awful, easily one of the worst films in recent memory. In fact, it was so dreadful that I kyboshed my plans to review the film and instead implored my editors to let me do a retrospective on the revival of my favorite TV series, “Twin Peaks.” This was made all the worse because Scott had recently launched a successful career comeback with 2015’s crowd-pleasing “The Martian.” This all speaks to a long-standing truism about Scott — he is only as good as the script he’s working from. At this point in his career, no one would deny that he is a master of his craft; each of his films is, without fail, gorgeous and technically impeccable. Indeed, when he has a great script, like “Blade Runner,” he does a wonderful job at visually highlighting and complementing the complex themes and ideas that are often interwoven so beautifully into the story. The problem is that Scott seems utterly incapable of discerning between a great script and a terrible script. No director should be able to list “Thelma & Louise” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” on the same résumé.
Stefan Lanfer ’97 discovered his passion for playwriting after winning the Frost and Dodd Student Play Festival as a Dartmouth student and seeing his work performed onstage. Though he went on to attend business school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and work in consulting and the nonprofit sector, he never stopped writing. This weekend, after five years of writing and perfecting his script, Lanfer’s play “An Education in Prudence” premieres at the Open Theatre Project in Boston. The play is based on one of the first desegregation battles in the United States regarding the education of African-American girls in Connecticut.
Students and local community members are invited to participate in a conversation about culture and adolescence at the Geordie Productions’ presentation of “Jabber” at Spaulding Auditorium in the Hopkins Center for the Arts on Sunday.
Some of Dartmouth’s most talented singers will participate in Dartmouth Idol’s semifinals tonight at Spaulding Auditorium in the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The competition provides singers from the student body the opportunity to showcase their vocal skills and compete for cash prizes and the chance to record and produce a demo. Although tonight’s event has judges who will provide commentary on the performances, the finalists will be determined by the spectators, who will be able to electronically vote for their preferred singer.
For a leader, it can often be difficult to strike a balance between pushing group members toward growth and making everyone feel motivated and supported. Connor Lehan ’18 has managed to do both as the president of Casual Thursday. An economics major and computer science minor, Lehan has been a member of the student improv group Casual Thursday since his freshman fall, when he fell in love with improv as an outlet for channeling the wacky side of personality.
As February approaches, Dartmouth students begin preparations for V-Day, the global movement to end violence against girls and women. Many talented and dedicated students come together during the month of February to support the cause and promote gender equity through V-February, Dartmouth’s version of the global movement. One of these students is Gricelda Ramos ’18, a geography modified with Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean studies major. As a student with passion in both theatrical performance and social issues, Ramos will be directing the V-Feb program. According to Ramos, despite the fact that she is not a theater major, her passion for theater is immeasurable.
Most Dartmouth students know from watching a cappella performances at showcases and Greek houses that we have many talented singers on campus. Especially for such a small school, it’s truly impressive how many great a cappella groups exist — in fact, there are nine. But there is a lot of talent and work that goes into the creative process of arranging that is not always recognized. Music director emeritus for the Brovertones Graham Rigby ’17, who has been arranging for the all-male for nearly five years, said arranging music is like creating an “inspired original composition” based on the framework of another person’s piece.
First created as a display of appreciation for student artwork, “A Temporary Museum of Ideas in the Making” has been transformed into a collection of 36 architectural models constructed by Dartmouth students. Curated by Gerald Auten, studio art professor and director of the studio art exhibition program, and studio art professor Zenovia Toloudi, the exhibit is currently displayed in the Strauss Gallery at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Students and community members now have the opportunity to view some of the best architectural models collected by Toloudi from her classes over the past three years. While it is common for studio art professors to keep art created by their students, “A Temporary Museum of Ideas in the Making” allows the public to appreciate and explore innovative work produced by Dartmouth students too.